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Viewing cable 05PARIS1699, TWO EX-GTMO DETAINEES CHARGED WITH TERRORIST

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05PARIS1699 2005-03-14 17:05 2010-11-30 16:04 SECRET Embassy Paris
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
SS E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 001699 

SIPDIS 

STATE FOR EUR/WE, S/CT, AND S/WCI 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/13/2015 
TAGS: PGOV PREL FR PTER KJUS
SUBJECT: TWO EX-GTMO DETAINEES CHARGED WITH TERRORIST 
CONSPIRACY BUT ONE ORDERED RELEASED ON BAIL 

REF: A. PARIS 1610 

B. KUJAWINSKI-FRANCE DESK 3/11 E-MAIL 

Classified By: POLITICAL MINISTER-COUNSELOR JOSIAH ROSENBLATT, FOR REAS 
ONS 1.4 B/D 

1. (S) Summary and comment: Ridouane Khalid and Khaled Ben 
Mustafa, two of the three ex-Guantanamo (GTMO) detainees 
returned to French custody on March 7, were formally placed 
under investigation on "terrorist conspiracy" charges March 
11 by terrorism investigating judges Jean-Louis Bruguiere and 
Jean-Francois Ricard. Later that evening, a "liberty and 
detention" judge upheld the terrorism judges' request that 
Ben Mustafa be sent to pretrial detention. Curiously, a few 
hours later on March 12, the same "liberty and detention" 
judge examined Ridouane Khalid's case and ordered him 
released pending trial. It is highly likely that the office 
of the Paris Prosecutor will appeal the judge's decision, but 
for the time being Khalid remains released on bail. The 
Khalid decision is the first setback for Judges Bruguiere and 
Ricard as they work on the "French detainees in Guantanamo" 
dossier. For the first time in this dossier, a defense 
lawyer won a victory for his client, a fact that would 
embolden the lawyers for the other five detainees still in 
pretrial detention. When reached March 14, Ricard (strictly 
protect throughout) told Poloff that he was not optimistic 
regarding the dossier. He said the "liberty and detention" 
judge's decision could impact the continued detention of the 
other five detainees. End summary and comment. 

2. (S) Poloff spoke with Judges Bruguiere and Ricard on March 
10 regarding the three ex-GTMO detainees returned to French 
custody on Monday, March 7. They confirmed that on March 11, 
they would charge Ridouane Khalid and Khaled Ben Mustafa with 
"terrorist conspiracy," which carries with it a maximum 
sentence of 10 years. They also revealed that the cases 
against the two would be more difficult than for the four 
original detainees returned to France in the summer of 2004. 
Bruguiere said that the DST had not uncovered any substantial 
additional information during the interrogation of Khalid and 
Ben Mustafa, which contrasts with the new information they 
had garnered from the original four detainees during their 
initial interrogation. Ricard confirmed this, and added that 
both Khalid and Ben Mustafa did not have substantial records 
of involvement in Afghanistan, in contrast to the original 
four. Regarding Ben Mustafa, Ricard said they had 
comparatively little information, due largely to the fact 
that Ben Mustafa had "barely enough time to set down his 
suitcase in Afghanistan before 9/11." The French have a 
little more on Khalid, but only because he was known to 
French services as being active in underground Islamist 
circles in Paris as far back as 1998. For these reasons, 
both judges said they personally considered the cases against 
Khalid and Ben Mustafa more difficult to prosecute. 

3. (S) Regarding the third detainee, Mustaq Ali Patel, 
Bruguiere confirmed March 10 that the French had no 
derogatory information against him, and for this reason, he 
was released on March 9 (reftel A). He also said that Patel 
has severe mental and physical problems, and Bruguiere 
believed these problems had been exacerbated during Patel's 
multi-year imprisonment in Guantanamo. 

4. (S) Following the formal announcement of an investigation, 
Khalid and Ben Mustafa were brought before a "liberty and 
detention" judge whose role is to determine whether or not 
the defendant should be released on bail pending the trial or 
remanded to pretrial detention. Ben Mustafa went first and 
the judge ruled in favor of Bruguiere and Ricard's requests 
that he be kept in pretrial detention. Khalid went before 
the same judge a few hours later and, surprisingly, given the 
similarity of the cases against the defendants, the judge 
ordered Khalid released pending trial. According to the 
Saturday (March 12) edition of Le Monde newspaper, the judge 
said Khalid's long detention in Guantanamo and the fact that 
the other five ex-GTMO detainees were in pretrial detention 
minimized Khalid's flight risk. 

5. (S) Judge Ricard's reaction March 14 reflected his 
surprise with the decision; "Don't ask me for explanations 
(for the judge's decision) because I don't have any. The 
(liberty and detention) judge's reasoning makes no sense." 
Ricard said he had been unsure of the two cases against 
Khalid and Ben Mustafa, but expected nonetheless that the 
judge would either approve the detention of both or reject 
the detention of both. Ricard said there were few 
differences in the cases against Khalid and Ben Mustafa. 
However, he speculated that the following three issues may 
have influenced the judge to order Khalid's release: 1) 
Khalid's lawyer, Paul-Albert Iweins, is a former president of 
the Paris Bar and as such, is extremely skilled and 
reputable. This probably had a significant influence on the 
"liberty and detention" judge, said Ricard. 2) Khalid is 
hepatitis-C positive and this, combined with other more minor 
medical issues, may have decreased the judge's fear that 
Khalid was a flight risk; and 3) Khalid was less talkative 
during the DST's interrogation, said Ricard, which made 
compiling a dossier against him significantly more difficult. 

6. (S) Moving forward, Ricard said it was probable that the 
Paris Prosecutor's office, upon recommendation of the 
terrorism investigating judges, would appeal Khalid's release 
this week. In addition, Ben Mustafa's lawyer has filed two 
separate appeals for his release, one of which will be heard 
this week, and the other shortly thereafter. Ricard said the 
appeals were based largely on the fact that the cases against 
Ben Mustafa and Khalid were similar. The lawyer will argue, 
said Ricard, that if Khalid was released, Ben Mustafa must be 
released as well. Ricard said that the other four ex-GTMO 
detainees in pretrial detention since summer 2004 would 
undoubtedly resubmit petitions for their release based on the 
success of Khalid's lawyer. 

7. (S) Comment: In our dealings with Ricard and Bruguiere on 
the Guantanamo detainees issue, Ricard has consistently 
evinced more uncertainty and his reaction to this first 
setback demonstrates that. The fact that the "liberty and 
detention" judge allowed bail for one defendant and not the 
other suggests that incarceration in Guantanamo was not a 
decisive factor in deciding pretrial detention. Ricard and 
Bruguiere remain determined to pursue charges against six of 
the seven GTMO detainees, although there is little doubt that 
their defense lawyers will redouble their efforts to obtain 
bail for the other detainees as a result of the "liberty and 
detention" judge's decision. End comment. 
Leach
T ONE ORDERED RELEASED ON...